Earlier this week I watched the pilot episode of Bionic Woman.
To my great surprise, I experienced a certain déjà vu. The program reminded me of Battlestar Galactica. It’s not a Galactica rip-off, but the two shows share ‘heritage.’ Perhaps most obvious was Katee Sackhoff (Starbuck), Aaron Douglas (Chief Petty Officer Tyrol), and Mark Sheppard (Romo Lampkin, the lawyer who represented Baltar) appearing in the program. Behind the camera, David Eick is half of the executive producer team for both programs.
I didn’t delve deeply into the credits, but the production company is the same and I wouldn’t be surprised to see overlap in the upper levels of the crew as well. My logic is the production ‘look’ is very similar. The very beginning of the show reminded me strongly of Galactica, right down to the typeface used in the title graphic.
Both programs are nearly blank-slate ‘re-imaginings’ of programs that originally aired in the 1970s. They’re both considerably darker and more interesting than their original versions.
One of my biggest complaints about the original bionic woman is how the social norms of the 1970s limited what she did. The bionic man, Steve Austin, saved the world from aliens, the Russians, and even a lunatic who built a number of doomsday-type missiles. On the other hand, the bionic woman rescues a lion, a school bus full of kids, not to mention going under cover as a beauty pageant contestant and a stewardess. I do believe lions and kids need rescuing, but Jamie’s work was generally a distant second place to Steve’s. She was a product of her time, but the times have changed. I’m glad to see this new Jamie Sommers is more of a bionic incarnation of la femme Nikita than a bionic stay-at-home mom.
From what I saw in the pilot, Bionic Woman could be every bit as good as Galactica. It laid out an interesting array of possibilities. We’ll see if they use them to good advantage.
Bionic Woman publicity photo ©2007 NBC Universal